Some jokes just write themselves. Since the New York Jets defeated the Denver Broncos in Week 5, they have lost three of their last five games and are currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak. As for head coach Sean Payton and the Broncos, they have won four of their last five and are riding a hot four-game winning streak.
As most know, earlier this year, Sean Payton took surprising shots at former Broncos head coach and current Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for his coaching in Denver in 2022 calling it "one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL." Despite going back on his word when he issued his public apology for the statements he made, this was more so Payton stirring clear of the drama and not taking back what he said.
Many reasons for why Payton made this statement were specifically due to the mess Hackett left behind in Denver. His coaching job in 2022 as Denver's head coach was undoubtedly one of the worst the NFL has ever seen and was largely due in part to his poor schematic approach as a play-caller/play-designer, refusal to hold players accountable, and poor game management among many other things. Since Payton has taken over as the Broncos head coach, all of these issues have quickly turned from weakness to strength.
Now being the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets, Nathaniel Hackett is once again showing his true colors as a coach in the NFL. The incompetence as a play-caller and inability to design plays to the strengths of his quarterback and skill players is comically awful. After struggling to scheme his players into the end zone with the Broncos in 2022, the same issue has become apparent in New York in 2023.
The New York Jets offense under Hackett is currently the worst red zone offense in the NFL by a wide margin with a 26.09 percent touchdown percentage. Meanwhile, Sean Payton's offense is nearly twice as good with a 48.65 percent touchdown percentage inside the 20-yard line, and have yet to hit their stride as a group. On top of that, you can make a real argument that New York's skill positions are more talented than Denver's but still do not produce well at all.
While you can say the Broncos have Russell Wilson under center while the Jets have Zach Wilson under center, Hackett already had his opportunity with a hall-of-fame quarterback and failed miserably to tailor his offense to his strengths. In fact, he did the exact opposite. Hackett was hired by the Jets simply due to his relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and nothing more. He is not a viable offensive coordinator in this league without the talent of Rodgers.
Ultimately, it is no coincidence that Russell Wilson is playing miles better without Nathaniel Hackett. Sean Payton has made all the difference in the world not only managing his quarterback terrifically and holding him in check, but he has also helped the Broncos find their offensive identity that they have been searching for eight consecutive years. The New York Jets regressing in offensive success from 2022 to 2023 (15 PPG with better playmakers) is a perfect example of why Nathaniel Hackett was the main problem all along for Wilson's down year in 2022.